Etude Toccata

During all of my classical music lessons while growing up, there was only one song I truly enjoyed playing; Etude Toccata.

I remember it vividly still.  My piano lessons were always on Tuesdays at 4pm.  That was ample time to be picked up late from school, grab my piano books and head to the piano teacher’s house.  Before my time slot, there was always a Brandon having a lesson.

What do I mean?  Under her tutelage, Mrs. Chiu taught two Brandon’s, whom she decided to differentiate as Brandon A and Brandon B.  So, one of those Brandon’s always had the time slot before.  For this story, it’s Brandon A.

Remember him?  He’s from this story.

Sometimes I would arrive a little early, or the lesson was going a little late, so I would wait out the last few minutes of Brandon A’s lesson.  He was a level or two ahead of me, so it was so interesting to hear him play this song one day.  Have a listen:

The ending is so satisfying when you get it right.

It’s interesting because the first half of the song, you’re playing one note over and over again.  Granted, there’s much more depth to it than that, but I couldn’t help but think “that song is easy”.  But as he finished it up his lesson and I heard the song a few more times, it grew on me.  Given my lack of effort, it probably took me about two months to learn any song, and then another month to fully memorize it.  But not for this song.

In fact, I was able to play most of it after hearing it a few times.

This was a weird turning point for me.  Because in terms of piano, I considered myself to be a  “waste of God-given talent”.  I never practiced.  That might have worked out for me until late middle school, but then songs started getting longer and more intricate.  Anyway, for the first time ever, there was a song that I wanted to learn.  Before, it was just songs Mrs. Chiu picked out at her discretion.  I was so eager to learn it, I had it fully memorized and master within a week.  And from there, I started to care a little more about honing my musical skills.  This was around the same time I began tuning into kMozart more (when it was still on 105.1 FM).


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